'Disruptive Technologies for Development Challenge'

Example of blue space delineation capability for a water body in an Indonesian city. The water is highlighted in yellow.

Example of blue space delineation capability for a water body in an Indonesian city. The water is highlighted in yellow.



After Green City Watch’s method of mapping the quality of urban green space was showcased at a World Bank-hosted event in June 2018, we met the World Bank’s Geospatial Operations Support Team (GOST), which led to a collaboration with the World Bank’s City Planning Labs (CPL) team.

As an initial proof of concept, we analyzed 26 of Indonesia’s most populated cities, including Jakarta, a ‘megacity’ and the largest city in Southeast Asia, with an estimated population of over 10 million people. Indonesian policymakers were thrilled with the results, so we actively sought funding for a follow-up trajectory. 

As part of the Disruptive Technology Initiative, the World Bank’s Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation (FCI) Global Practice launched the Disruptive Technologies for Development (DT4D) Challenge. The goal is to identify and pilot scalable disruptive technology solutions in World Bank Group (Bank Group) operations to maximize their development impact. 


This challenge addresses the need for the Bank Group to adopt disruptive technologies to enhance the impact of operations and policy advice in member countries. Like other large organizations, private and public, the Bank Group is introducing a tool to experiment and learn how to integrate and operationalize disruptive technologies to achieve development impact.

Together with the Government of Indonesia and the City Planning Labs (CPL) team, we won the Challenge with a joint-proposal to build the ‘Green and Blue Footprints Tool’. The tool is an addition to the Green City Watch Platform, and combines the analysis of Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite imagery with machine learning algorithms and interactive visualization tools, to provide meaningful insights for green and blue infrastructure management. 

The project will initially use Maxar’s sub-meter resolution satellite imagery, and in the second phase, will explore the use of drone imagery to analyze information on green and blue spaces. Green City Watch’s comprehensive ‘Urban Nature Index’ which includes a variety of ecological, social, and economic indicators will be used to inform development control policies. Given the applicability of this product in various sectors (i.e. infrastructure, environment, urban planning), and clear replicability potential of the proposed methods, the successful development of this product will benefit local governments across the globe, teams within the World Bank, and beyond.


  • Green City Watch Index

  • Holistic impact assessment on sustainability

  • Identification of intervention hotspots and opportunities

  • Monitoring capabilities


  • Urban green space management

Related Media

Maxar: Utilizing Geospatial AI to improve Indonesia’s urban green spaces

SatMagazine: Green City Watch monitors urban green space — from space


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